MS elementary school changing its name from 'Jefferson Davis' to 'Barack Obama'

Posted October 19, 2017

Barack Obama Magnet IB emerged as the clear winning name.

Davis International Baccalaureate Elementary School in Jackson was named decades ago for Jefferson Davis.

A public school in MS named after Confederate Jefferson Davis will soon be renamed after former president Barack Obama.

Janelle Jefferson, president of the school's Parent Teacher Association, said the new name will be more fitting for a school with a student population that is 98 percent black.

Jefferson confirmed that the school's community wanted "to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves". More than a dozen schools have been named after Obama across the country, but as Education Week reported in January, most are primarily black and Latino, urban, and on the coasts.

Jefferson informed trustees Tuesday that the school community had voted in favor of the new name October 5.

State rankings show the magnet school is the top academic performer of all elementary and middle schools in Mississippi. The decision to name the school after Obama was made on October 6. None were, but the Jackson Schools Board, aware it would likely be disbanded soon for unrelated reasons, as its final act delegated renaming power to three other schools in the system named after confederate leaders.

Interim board president Camille Stutts-Simms said she approved of the change and described it as a "monumentous move". Numerous schools are majority black, according to Education Week.

Last month, the episcopal church that Confederate commander Robert E. Lee attended when he was president of Washington and Lee College in Lexington, Virginia even voted to change its name from the Robert E. Lee Memorial Church back to its original title, the Grace Episcopal Church.

The name change will take effect during the 2018-19 school year at the school, the district said in a statement to WJTV.